The Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco said US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was no longer allowed to receive Communion because of her vocal support for abortion rights.
Salvatore Cordileone, the conservative archbishop, said he had already raised his concerns in Pelosi, D-California, in an April 7 letter after she promised to codify the right to abortion established by the Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade. Cordillon said he never received a response from Pelosi.
Cordileone informed members of the archdiocese in a letter on Friday that Pelosi must publicly repudiate his support for abortion rights in order to take Holy Communion – a ritual practiced in Catholic churches to commemorate the death of Christ, in part in consuming a symbolic meal of bread and wine.
“After many attempts to speak to her to help her understand the grave harm she is doing, the outrage she is causing and the danger she is risking to her own soul, I have determined that the time has come when I must make a public statement that she should not be admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone wrote.
Cordileone said he had addressed Pelosi the day before in a separate letter about the consequences of citing his faith to justify abortion and refusing to withdraw his position on the issue.
“I hereby notify you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, if you do, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until you [publicly] repudiate your plea for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution for this grave sin in the Sacrament of Penance,” he wrote in the letter to Pelosi.
Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to NPR’s email and phone call seeking comment.
After Texas passed a law banning abortion after six weeks last year, Pelosi pledged to codify abortion rights. A Democratic-led bill seeking to follow through on that promise recently failed in the Senate.
Following the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion, which revealed a preliminary ruling striking down constitutional abortion protections, Pelosi invoked her Catholic faith to bolster her support for abortion rights.
“The very idea that they would tell women their family size or timing or anything, the personal nature of that is so appalling, and I say that as a devout Catholic,” Pelosi said. Told Seattle weather earlier this month. “They tell me, ‘Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the Pope.’ Yes, I know that. Are you stupid?”
Cordileone said he tried to contact Pelosi again at the time, one of his six attempts to contact her since September.
Cordileone, among the most outspoken American bishops, has also called for stripping communion privileges from President Biden and other politicians who support abortion rights.
After a debate last year over whether communion should be denied to Catholics who support abortion rights, including politicians, the U.S. bishops have decided not to implement such a policy and have rather urged Catholics deviating from church teachings to abstain from Communion.